Surfing smut tops list of workplace web offences

A headline-grabbing report, published this week by Personnel Today magazine, shows that surfing porn at work tops the league of web-related 'offences' recorded by 544 HR Managers and officers surveyed. 40% of HR personnel have received complaints about employees wasting time on the net.

The Internet Misuse survey, conducted in association with Websense, shows that 51 per cent of employers have had complaints relating to pornography sites and 9 per cent to race or other discriminatory website addresses. The research also showed that 69% of those fired for abusing their internet connections were surfing for pornography.

Nearly a quarter of organisations have had complaints about staff accessing chat rooms and 17 per cent have had complaints relating to games on the web.

Interestingly, most of the HR people questioned felt that 20 minutes a day of personal surfing time was 'acceptable', but they felt actual use was closer to 30 minutes a day... We at Contractor UK suspect these figures are still way off the mark!

When dealing with the problem, 56 per cent of HR professionals have had an informal chat with staff, 29 per cent have issued a verbal warning, 28 per cent a written warning and 23 per cent have dismissed an employee over internet misuse.

Geoff Haggart, vice-president Europe of Websense, said that "most workplaces don't realise how much personal surfing goes on", and added that companies should opt for prevention rather than cure and use software that blocks certain sites and limits personal time online.

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